Self‐Deception as Pretense

Tamar Szabó Gendler

in Intuition, Imagination, and Philosophical Methodology

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589760
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595486 | DOI:
Self‐Deception as Pretense

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This chapter offers an account of self‐deception. It proposes that in paradigmatic cases, the self‐deceived subject pretends (in the sense of makes‐believe or imagines or fantasizes) that not‐P is the case, and the pretense that not‐P comes to play many of the roles normally played by belief. Understanding self‐deception in this way is highly natural, and it provides a non‐paradoxical characterization of the phenomenon that explains both its distinctive patterns of instability and its ordinary association with irrationality. One might then wonder why this diagnosis has largely been overlooked. The chapter suggests that the oversight is due to a failure to recognize the philosophical significance of a crucial fact about the human mind, namely, the degree to which attitudes other than belief often play a central role in our mental and practical lives. The view is contrasted with those of Al Mele, Donald Davidson, and others.

Keywords: self‐deception; pretense; make‐belief; imagination; fantasy; belief; Al Mele; Donald Davidson

Chapter.  13281 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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